This American Life 2/26/16 Anatomy of Doubt

Did anyone else listen to this? This American Life frequently opens my mind and gives me new perspective, but I don’t remember being so viscerally hit by a story before
Story of rape not believed:

Arrrrrghhhhhhh. I’ve been hearing my whole life about how victims of rape are revictimized by the police, but this story really lays it all out. Even though I knew these things happened I am struck by how naive I have been that reporting a rape, having a rape kit done, having physical evidence, being the goddamn 21st century would somehow make some difference in being believed.

Sort of a “happy ending” in that the revicitmized victim is ultimately vindicated (after years! after being convicted of the crime of falsification! after having to pay $500!) but devastating.

I caught bits of the show while I was running errands the other day. The very little I heard was terribly upsetting.

I’m glad of this reminder to try to listen to the whole story in the next few days.

It’s a devastating story. This young woman was extremely vulnerable to begin with. Her childhood and adolescence were traumatic, moving through the foster care system (I think the story mentioned she had lived in eleven different foster homes, and an unnamed number of group homes). Then she experienced the additional trauma of a terrifying rape. At this point, it really seems that of all the people in the world, Marie deserved to catch a break. But no. The behavior of the police officers (and others) was appalling. Even if other people in Marie’s life had no experience working with victims of sexual assault, one would expect a higher level of knowledge and understanding from representatives of the criminal justice system.

It made my blood boil when one of the former foster mothers said that Marie had to take responsibility for the way she had been treated. What the actual? No, Marie is not in any sense responsible for what happened to her. The police officers, the former foster carers, the people who ran the non-profit that assisted Marie with transitioning out of foster care, etc. all failed her. I have nothing but admiration for Marie herself. She must be an extraordinary person.

I guess I am jaded and cynical enough that I was not surprised or shocked that the police treated Marie the way they did. I expect them to behave that way at least some of the time.

I was most struck by what chaika mentioned. After all that happened, the former foster mother who started the doubt, who made the call to the police that started the whole dropping of the rape case and the charging of Marie, still said “Marie needs to take responsibility for her demeanor, which caused me to doubt her”. I was yelling at my radio when I heard that.

This American Life did a great job on this story.

Great episode. I, too, was appalled by the foster mother who STILL wanted to blame Marie because she didn’t act the way the foster mom thought she should. NOT “oh, I guess I was wrong about how I thought REAL victims behaved.” No. Marie was wrong. Aaaaarrrrgggghhhhh! You could hear the wheels turning, but she just couldn’t get there.

“My Damn Mind” (2 episodes ago) was also great. I love This American Life.